Arizona – the new Rhode Island?

posted at 8:31 pm on July 7, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

According to the Obama administration’s lawsuit against the state of Arizona, their new law requiring police officers to investigate immigration status for those already in some form of detention violates their jurisdiction, which is what the argument of pre-emption means.  Barack Obama and Eric Holder want the courts to rule that only the federal writ runs in Arizona on immigration-law enforcement.  Apparently, though, the federal writ doesn’t run in Rhode Island, where law enforcement has been doing for years exactly what the Arizona law Obama opposes mandates — without a peep from the DoJ:

But in Rhode Island, illegal immigrants face a far greater penalty: deportation.

“There are police chiefs throughout New England who hide from the issue . . . and I’m not hiding from it,’’ said Colonel Brendan P. Doherty, the towering commander of the Rhode Island State Police. “I would feel that I’m derelict in my duties to look the other way.’’

From Woonsocket to Westerly, the troopers patrolling the nation’s smallest state are reporting all illegal immigrants they encounter, even on routine stops such as speeding, to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE.

Well, that’s different from what Arizona is doing because, well, um … Arizona’s racist, or something.  In fact, Rhode Island does exactly what Arizona belatedly decided to do, which is to get serious about immigration control and enforcing the law.  The only difference is that Rhode Island began doing it before Barack Obama needed a distraction from a hugely unpopular ObamaCare bill and thought a fight over immigration would bolster Democrats in the midterms.

In fact, Rhode Island didn’t bother passing a law, but instead relied on an executive order:

In 2008, Governor Donald L. Carcieri, a Republican, issued an executive order mandating immigration checks on all new state workers and ordering State Police to assist federal immigration officials.

Sitting in his office in an old farmhouse off a country highway, Doherty said the State Police had collaborated with federal immigration officials before, but the relationship has become more formal in recent years. In 2007, he said, he trained all state troopers in how to deal with noncitizens because of widespread confusion and because Congress did not resolve the issue of illegal immigration. Troopers learned to notify consulates when noncitizens are arrested, how to recognize different forms of identification, and how to deal with different cultures.

In 2009, Doherty took it a step further and enrolled in the 287(g) program, which designated four troopers as immigration task force agents to assist in investigating drug and human trafficking and other crimes.

They also help regular troopers report illegal immigrants to ICE. Troopers say the issue typically comes up during criminal investigations or when motorists don’t have driver’s licenses, and police need to verify their identities with the center in Vermont.

Heck, an executive order seems even more susceptible to a legal challenge than a law passed by the legislature.  Why isn’t the DoJ suing Rhode Island to stop doing what Arizona proposes to do?

William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection notes the irony in the attacks by Democrats on Arizona in the context of deep-blue Rhode Island:

This is too rich. Who would have thought that my home state, the state of Sheldon Whitehouse, is “racist” by the definition of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party?

I can’t wait for Whitehouse to give a speech on the floor of the Senate associating the Rhode Island State Police with the “fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups.” After all, if racists oppose illegal immigration, then everyone who opposes illegal immigration must be a racist.

Or perhaps Whitehouse can simply explain how we managed to drop Rhode Island from the United States — or ask whether the Department of Justice and the Obama administration are simply indulging a purely political exercise.


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…or ask whether the Department of Justice and the Obama administration are simply indulging a purely political exercise…

Do we really need to ask anymore? I think we know…Obama does nothing for America and everything for Obama.

IntheNet on July 7, 2010 at 8:37 PM

Si se puede!

loving that gov :)

cmsinaz on July 7, 2010 at 8:38 PM

Arizona does not border Mexico just like Rhode Island, so it is possible.

WashJeff on July 7, 2010 at 8:42 PM

Hypocrisy, Obama is thy name.

OldEnglish on July 7, 2010 at 8:42 PM

but doesn’t that endanger delicate foreign policy work from the feds?

Fighton03 on July 7, 2010 at 8:44 PM

buycott RI?

cmsinaz on July 7, 2010 at 8:46 PM

OT: Dennis Miller just said that we have a POTUS who thinks he can control the temperature of the earth but has no clue how to plug the damn hole…heh

d1carter on July 7, 2010 at 8:46 PM

Not to mention Federal-law-thwarting “sanctuary cities”. DOJ sues AZ and not dozens of “sanctuary cities”?

Can I ask Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Who is John Galt on July 7, 2010 at 8:46 PM

Kris W. Kobach, one of those who crafted AZ’s law, offers many good rebuttals to the critics of it.
http://article.nationalreview.com/437656/defending-arizona/kris-w-kobach

onlineanalyst on July 7, 2010 at 8:49 PM

Just like Missouri…

The votes aren’t there (yet!)

golfmann on July 7, 2010 at 8:49 PM

What is MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Thinking?

Once you watch this video, you’ll be wondering the same thing. It’s baffling.

dnlchisholm on July 7, 2010 at 8:49 PM

Rhode Island actually had a couple Republican representatives in the 90s. The Dems seem to have given up on Arizona.

theperfecteconomist on July 7, 2010 at 8:56 PM

This is exactly what a community organizer does, agitate. It’s what he knows how to do. you know hammer, world is a nail thing.

jukin on July 7, 2010 at 9:01 PM

I don’t see the upside in this decision by DoJ. They’re going to get slaughtered. it may take some time, but they’ll never win. Even with Kagen on the court.

watson007 on July 7, 2010 at 9:03 PM

Just what are they teaching at Columbia Law School and Harvard Law School these days? Are we sure Holder and Obama graduated? They have to be the two dumbest lawyers in D.C.

fogw on July 7, 2010 at 9:05 PM

Obviously not enough ACORN volunteers in RI to wise things up there… or are they Community Organizers International now? COMOINTERN! Gotta love those names the left organizations come up with…

Will we soon be down to 56 States? Will RI now feel the writhy-wrath of Holder? Will Elvis be seen at the White House again? And is it true that they want to use a nuclear device to go after a UFO base in the Gulf and are spewing out oil to get a cover story?

Enquiring minds want to know!

And that is getting to be about the most reliable newspaper left in the industry…

ajacksonian on July 7, 2010 at 9:07 PM

Well ya gots your BLUE state and you gots your RED states and Barry, being COLOR BLIND likes to pick on RED states.

Just ask Louisiana.

GarandFan on July 7, 2010 at 9:12 PM

Yeah. Georgia instituted strict laws regarding illegals a couple of years ago, and the next year we saw a huge increase in the number of illegals in our neighboring state. They just migrate looking for benefits and more time.

You know, everyday this administration is caught with its diapers down, full butt on display. It’s so messy and embarrassing, isn’t it?

Aren’t there any adults around to lead this country??

Cody1991 on July 7, 2010 at 9:14 PM

Since we clearly can’t count on the Federal government to enforce our immigration laws, we need to make sure we elect people who will enforce these laws at the State and Local levels!

Please ask every single candidate in your area what they plan to do about ILLEGAL immigration if they are elected.

And then campaign and vote for the candidates with the strongest plans for solving the ILLEGAL immigration problem.

wren on July 7, 2010 at 9:19 PM

I would love for a judge to toss the lawsuit as frivolous…

right2bright on July 7, 2010 at 9:20 PM

I would love for a judge to toss the lawsuit as frivolous…

right2bright on July 7, 2010 at 9:20 PM

I think there would be plenty of judges who would love to do so. But the media/political circus following that would about as much fun as jumping in a pool of starving piranhas.

Dark-Star on July 7, 2010 at 9:22 PM

Shhhhhhhh! You guys are scaring all the Puerto Ricans that live in Woonsocket! They’re going to start thinking they’ll be assaulted at the ice cream shop.

CrankyTRex on July 7, 2010 at 9:24 PM

Illegal immigrants = felony. It is felony to be here illegally, so the He that know more that we doesn’t have a clue!

holymoly on July 7, 2010 at 9:26 PM

This is just great! RaDieLin, of all places.

Can they avoid talking about this – Gibbsy et al? And the MSM?

disa on July 7, 2010 at 9:35 PM

We’re such a small state that almost nobody pays any attention to us unless one of our reps is getting drunk and driving into things in the middle of the night.

CrankyTRex on July 7, 2010 at 9:39 PM

All of these little details must come out in the court process.

It will be priceless!

Fuzzlenutter on July 7, 2010 at 9:50 PM

I would love for a judge to toss the lawsuit as frivolous…

right2bright on July 7, 2010 at 9:20 PM

Honestly, I think this case is far too important to be tossed as frivolous. Whatever side you come down on, there will be imporant precedence set on issues that haven’t been dealt with before.

gryphon202 on July 7, 2010 at 9:59 PM

Is Obama the Rhode Island Chicken?
Here
Important to point out a few things.
Notice the red on the head, a symbol of communism always on his mind.
Multi colored feathers, a sure sign of him not knowing really who he is, confused.
A light brown bill, always in front, always a bill, always pecking away at our feed with his bills.
The red wattle, always moving back and forth, never in one place, always changing.
And of course, yellow legs & feet, always afraid to take a stand, always asking for forgiveness from our enemies.
Truly this chicken represents Obama perfectly…

right2bright on July 7, 2010 at 10:03 PM

gryphon202 on July 7, 2010 at 9:59 PM

Of course, but wouldn’t it be great?

right2bright on July 7, 2010 at 10:03 PM

The Obama legal geniuses are about to lose another one. I guess this is another one of those decisions Holder took after a long and serious review.

SlaveDog on July 7, 2010 at 10:03 PM

Since we clearly can’t count on the Federal government to enforce our immigration laws, we need to make sure we elect people who will enforce these laws at the State and Local levels!

Please ask every single candidate in your area what they plan to do about ILLEGAL immigration if they are elected.

And then campaign and vote for the candidates with the strongest plans for solving the ILLEGAL immigration problem.

wren on July 7, 2010 at 9:19 PM

I did just this with one of the 5 Michigan Republican candidates for Governor. Rick Snyder is the former CEO of Gateway computer or something. He is spending his personal fortune on running for governor in MI. His ads are positioning him as the job oriented, results oriented “nerd” outsider who is the only one qualified to run Michigan.

So I wanted to believe his ads, I went to his website. I read his top issues. NOWHERE does he address the immigration issue, let alone ILLEGAL immigration and securing our borders (this was several weeks ago). So I emailed him and asked him about his position. His rep emailed me back saying that Rick didn’t have a position on that right now.

HUH????????!!!!!!!!!!!????????????

I wrote back and told that campaign that EVERYONE has a position on this issue, we need LEADERS who take a stand on the side of US Citizens in office, not squishy, spineless wimps who want to duck the issue and pretend there is no problem. He lost my primary vote.

karenhasfreedom on July 7, 2010 at 10:07 PM

DC really is a swamp, no really, it is. Ask anyone who has tolerated the insane humidity in the summer. Prior to its selection as the Capital, probably as no one would mind giving up the worthess land(some things don’t change, now its just the land of the worthless), it was indeed a swamp. Nancy suggested draining it, a farcical piece of kabuki, I say to hell with that flood the joint, let nature reclaim it and start all over with anew cast of carachters.

Archimedes on July 7, 2010 at 10:10 PM

Of course, but wouldn’t it be great?

right2bright on July 7, 2010 at 10:03 PM

Eh, I’m not that emotionally involved. The only cases I’ve been able to find on state/federal field preemption involved the Volstead Act. I’m actually more eager to see how this shakes out on the merits.

gryphon202 on July 7, 2010 at 10:11 PM

Apparently, though, the federal writ doesn’t run in Rhode Island, where law enforcement has been doing for years exactly what the Arizona law Obama opposes mandates — without a peep from the DoJ:

All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Cheshire Cat on July 7, 2010 at 10:13 PM

or ask whether the Department of Justice and the Obama administration are simply indulging a purely political exercise morons and psychopaths.

Tav on July 7, 2010 at 10:19 PM

How can this be pointed out most effectively?

We need an encore frog puppet show by Arizona’s Governor again.

Seems like it’s the only thing that penetrates the thick liberal skulls in DC.

scotash on July 7, 2010 at 10:24 PM

or ask whether the Department of Justice and the Obama administration are simply indulging a purely political exercise.

Who needs to ask? We all know what’s going on here: 52% of the electorate chose to put an incompetent race-baiting political hack in the White House, and now we’re all paying the price.

AZCoyote on July 8, 2010 at 7:23 AM

Hmmm, will this be the trial of the century? The Arizonans crafted their law very carefully so that it would stand up in court. We have seen that other states also have this law. This is shaping up to make Øbama look like a bigger fool than he already does. When states realize that the feds can’t kick them around, it is going to be epic, a tenth amendment free-for-all.

Get me some popcorn!

Kafir on July 8, 2010 at 7:59 AM

Good for Lil’ Rhody. I lived there for 45 years and love the place(even though I would not move back there–too crowded, expensive). It’s nice to hear they’ve got something right.

jeanie on July 8, 2010 at 8:19 AM

So can the states sue the FedGov for not better-protecting the border?

eforhan on July 8, 2010 at 8:19 AM

Representatives can sue the president for not doing his job, it’s called impeachment. If the states wanted to instruct their reps to do that, they could The fact that there is no political will for it doesn’t mean the process isn’t there to do it.

States could try to sue the federal government for the cash to protect their border – that would be an interesting suit. Arguing that part of the taxes given to the federal govt are to secure the border and thus the state has the right to withhold or be reimbursed for related expenses.

WashingtonsWake on July 8, 2010 at 9:23 AM

Well ya gots your BLUE state and you gots your RED states and Barry, being COLOR BLIND likes to pick on RED states.

Just ask Louisiana.

GarandFan on July 7, 2010 at 9:12 PM

exactly

Wade on July 8, 2010 at 9:43 AM

Didn’t Romney order the Massachusetts State Police to start asking about immigration status on traffic stops as well? I recall some minor flap about it but IIRC overall it was greeted with a shrug.

Magson on July 8, 2010 at 10:46 AM

Good show Rhode Island. Going to the legislative pages of Rhode Island I see clearly that they were following the rules for checking all new employees as prescribed by the TSA rules for performing background checks, and they are simple. If a persons seeking employment must be legally authorized to work in the U.S. if not no badge to allow them to get to work.

MSGTAS on July 8, 2010 at 11:00 AM

the big difference, is Arizona slapped obama in the face with the gauntlet and threw it down. e.g. blago

RonK on July 8, 2010 at 11:13 AM

Could it be that a girl challenged Obowma? I have a strong sense from Obowma that he doesn’t like uppity women.

tarpon on July 8, 2010 at 2:42 PM

Arizona should counter-sue for a writ of mandamus to Obama in his official capacity, Nappy Janny in her official capacity, Holder in his official capacity and every implicated agency to require them to do their duty to enforce immigration law and secure the border. Dumbazz DOJ so kindly waived sovereign immunity on the issue by filing their suit, might as well take the opportunity.

Ay Uaxe on July 8, 2010 at 2:49 PM